Blog

Relevant and important information regarding our cause and related issues.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Inspirations on Diversity from Sports

For quite some time now, I’ve grappled with the plight of gender disparity I was witnessing firsthand and through the grapevine. While a little over half the U.S. population is women, barely 20 percent of S&P 500 corporate executive teams and board members are females. Women deserve a fair chance at executive positions. So last year, I decided I was going to take a stand and devote my time towards this cause. Taking a page from the NFL playbook, Parity.org was modeled after the Rooney Rule.

Enacted in 2003, the Rooney Rule was named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who is a champion for equal representation. During a time when the NFL was seeing a lack of diversity in the league, especially in head coaching and senior management roles, the policy requires league teams to interview qualified minority candidates for these senior positions. And it’s been working. A recent Denver Post article cited, “Only six black head coaches were hired from the NFL’s inception in 1920 to 2003, when the Rooney Rule became active. In the 14 years since, 12 black head coaches have been hired.”

Our mission is just as simple as it is powerful: bring gender parity to the highest levels of business. Our ask is also equally as simple – have companies merely pledge to interview at least one qualified female candidate for every open executive seat, vice president and higher. That includes the C-Suite and the Board of Directors. There are no quotas or deadlines. Just do it. Since our launch in September, it’s been so energizing to have more than 200+ companies take the Parity Pledge, including tech giants like Adobe and Cisco, fashion and lifestyle brands like Ralph Lauren and Stance, and emerging tech companies like Lyft, Domo, Pluralsight, Qualtrics, and Vivint Home.

This week, everything came full circle. I had the opportunity to attend the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, to speak to an audience of 14,000 attendees on the importance of gender parity to business. Backstage, I had the opportunity to chat with Steve Young, former NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, NFL analyst and now investor. He was to speak onstage soon after me. We discussed his thoughts on the Rooney Rule, and his perspective as a businessperson on the challenges in bringing gender parity to the executive level of organizations:

It’s been 15 years since the Rooney Rule was enacted. Even without quotas to the rule, how important was it in bringing diversity to the NFL?

Steve Young: [There’s] no question the Rooney Rule was the spark. People respond to calls to action; they want to broaden their horizons and embrace new ways of thinking. The Rooney Rule opened up opportunity for minorities—suddenly they were going to have a chance to interview. When they knew they were going to be interviewed, they became well prepared and as a result, many were hired. It still needs to be in place today—but we hope over time, it will be needed less and less. The goal should be to make it completely unnecessary.

Many studies show that a diverse executive team and Board are good for the bottom line. As an investor and businessperson do you see the impact of this in your portfolio companies or elsewhere?

SY: I certainly do. You don’t want homogenous boards or executive teams, where everyone thinks alike. If everyone has the same “DNA,” there’s no room for different ideas or creative thinking—not when everyone thinks alike. Of course, this asks more from leadership—it’s a challenge to be collaborative with people who are different than you. It’s easy to hire people who are just like you. It’s another thing to hire people that are diverse. You have to go out and find them; then open your mind to the value they bring to your company.

What hurdles do you see in bringing gender parity to the top of companies?

SY: Sometimes people need to be jolted into changing. Parity.org does that. When a company makes a public commitment to taking [the ParityPledge], they behave differently. If there’s no call to action, companies will just keep doing what they’re doing. You have to jolt them out of their comfort zone. It’s good to shake up the way things have always been done.

While we’ve seen a great deal of progress in the few months since we’ve launched, we’re only at the beginning of our journey for gender parity in the workplace. Much like Steve Young’s vision for the Rooney Rule, we look forward to the day when we won’t need to exist – where the corporate playing field is level and all qualified women are considered and given equal opportunity to interview and be hired for executive positions.

Proud Sponsors of Parity.org:

We’re just getting started! Learn more about the benefits of sponsoring Parity.org here.

Patron

Join our growing list of Founding Members.

Become one of the Founding Members by joining today.

Accompany logo
Adobe logo
American Express - Global Business Travel logo
Ancestry logo
athenahealth logo
Best Buy logo
Cisco logo
Cowboy Ventures logo
Domo logo
InsideSales logo
Lyft logo
Nasdaq logo
Overstock.com logo
Plural Sight logo
Qualtrics logo
Ralph Lauren logo
RRD logo
SoFi logo
Stance logo
Vivint Smart Home logo
Zefr logo
Zetta Venture Partners logo

20x200 logo
9th Root logo
AchieveToday logo
AdvancedMD logo
Aetion logo
Aktify logo
Alianza logo
Alpha Venture Partners logo
Apptentive logo
Atlas RTX logo
Axcend Corp logo
Bamboo HR logo
Banyan logo
bchannels logo
Blacksmith International logo
BMGI logo
Bridges to Your Best logo
Capshare logo
ChasmPartners
Chatbooks logo
Cotopaxi logo
cyd bown studios logo
Davinci Virtual Office Solutions logo
Dazzle logo
Degreed logo
Digital Respons-Ability logo
Direct Selling World Alliance logo
Directscale logo
Duo logo
EhEye logo
Envision Utah logo
Evolent Health logo
Experticity logo
Factory6 logo
FFE Solutions logo
Fluid logo
frontdoor logo
fuze logo
Gaingels logo
Gapsquare Logo
GBS Benefits logo
Girteka Logistics logo
GoReact logo
Green Business Base Camp logo
HealthCatalyst logo
Heroic.com logo
Hint logo
Hire Vue logo
Hub IQ
Hyphen Us logo
Ident Solutions logo
Imagine Learning logo
Instructure logo
InZazu logo
Io Tahoe logo
ivanti logo
Janiis logo
Launchpad Digital Health
Leading Women logo
LifeDojo logo
LiveView Technologies logo
Lodgable logo
Logicalmove.com logo
Lucid logo
Marksmen Brand Protection Services logo
MedApps logo
MediQuire logo
ment logo
Modern8 logo
momni logo
MX logo
NorthCapital logo
Onkore logo
Pelion Venture Partners logo
Pluto logo
Precision Dialogue
Recursion logo
RizePoint logo
RXA logo
Ryla logo
SaltStack logo
ServerPlus logo
Simplus logo
Skillz Inc. logo
Solutionreach logo
Sorenson Capital logo
Sorenson Media logo
SpaceIQ logo
Stagecoach Freight Lines logo
StockCross logo
Stop, Breathe & Think logo
Superior Water & Air logo
SURXL logo
Talon RPO logo
TaskEasy
Teal Drones logo
Tech9 logo
Teem logo
Tiered World Solutions
USANA Health Sciences logo
USANA True Health Foundation logo
Utah Digital Services logo
Utah Technology Council logo
Valor Partners logo
Venafi logo
Vivint Solar
WCF Insurance
Welltok logo
Westminster College logo
Workfront logo
ZoomSystems logo
Zotec Partners logo

Proud Partners of Parity.org:

Interested in getting more involved with Parity.org? Contact us about a partnership today.

Join our growing list of Friends.

Become a Friend of Parity.org today!

Catherine Angstman
Na
NA
Ashley
Account Associate
Fiti
Trey Bean
VP Product
Kuali, Inc.
Sarah Bergman
Assistant Designer
Ralph Lauren
Lauren Burch
Director of Communications
Parity.org
Molly Burns
Coordinator
Ralph Lauren
Tanya Caragol
Program Manager
Nasdaq
Denyse Cardozo
President & CEO
Silicon Valley Forum
Amy Crichton
Recruiting Director
BMGI
Jordan Davis
Manager, Customer Care
Adobe
Juliana DeMay
Digital Marketing Manager
Fluid Advertising
Brad Dickson
Managing Director
B-Rad Industries, LLC
Dorian DiNardo
SVP Product Development
Health Catalyst
Darlene Diplock
Sr. Sales Performance Consultant
HUB International
LeAnne Dudley
Business Operation Manager
Salesforce
Alexi Durant
Senior Project Manager
Tech9, LLC
Cy Dyar Eaton
Student
LDSBC
Alex Farman-Farmaian
Sales Lead
Carta
Curtis Feeny
Managing Director
Silicon Valley Data Capital
James Fike
Director Engineering, Information Systems
NICE InContact
Becky Frost
Senior Director, Public Relations
Instructure
Frank Grant
Managing Director
Solganick & Co.
Jennifer Gudmundson
Internal Audit Manager
Overstock.com
Dan Haley
Chief Legal and Administrative Officer
athenahealth, Inc
Christina Hall
Client Success Manager
Blacksmith International
Pam Harrington
Recruiting Director
BMGI
Mike Harris
Senior Sales Consultant
CroatiaTech
Mark Higginson
Director of Customer Success
Teem
Zach Holmquist
Co-Founder
Teem
Curtis Humphrey
Account Manager
DataBank
Ryan Hutchins
Senior Analyst
Economics Partners, LLC
Katie Ioanilli
SVP Global Corporate Communications
Ralph Lauren
Elizabeth Ireland
CMO
Venafi
Nate Jackson
Strategy
Stoke
Jon Jensen
Head of Product
Capshare
Scott Jensen
SVP Marketing
Teem
Blake Johnson
Partner
Law Offices of Kurt A. Johnson
Cristina Berta Jones
COO B2C Ecommerce
Naspers
Melissa Keohane
VP Legal
Venafi
Amy Kerdok
Senior Manager, Clinical Devleopment Engineering
Intuitive Surgical
Cheri Kimball
Principal Consultant
Dialexis
Justin King
AE
Carta
Angela King
Social Media Producer
LDS Church
Charly Kuecks
Consultant
University of Utah
Michael Larson
CIO
BMGI
Jessie Laurash
Content
Parity.org
Lisa Leath
President
Leath HR Group
Russell Lewis
Sr Product Manager
Adobe (company)
Lina Lim
Managing Director & Co Founder
Tempus Adventus Advisory
Lina Lim
Head of Technology
National Stock Exchange of Australia
Miki Loveless
HR Manager
Teem Technologies
Rico V Lujan
Senior Product Manager E-Commerce
1800 Contacts
Seth Lyon
Systems Engineer
Workfront
Rachel Mack
Analyst, Global Brand Planning
Ralph Lauren
Jim Mackey
Territory Manager
Veeam Software
Travis Marble
Lead developer
Centeva
Elizabeth Marshall
Senior Solutions Consultant
Tealium
Waylin McCurley
CHRO
BMGI
Amanda McDonald
Senior Digital Marketing Manager
Evelar Solar
Jeffrey McKown
Vice President, Human Resources
Advisor Group
Erin J. Morgart
CEO/Talent Agent
Hadassah Group LLC
Michael Moulton
Creative Director
Teem
Kim Mueller
VP Finance
Pelion Venture Partners
Derek Naegle
Student
Utah State University MHR
Marcia Nelson
Managing Director
Alberleen
Tony Nelson
Account Executive
Alpha
Jordan Nicholls
Partner Development
TEEM
Carrie Norton
Founder & CEO
Green Business BASE CAMP
Natalie Paolinelli
Manager of Product Development
Ralph Lauren
Brittany Patterson
Project manager
University of Utah Health
Sam Petersen
Content Marketing Manager
Sorenson Media
Judy Pierce
Senior Technical Support Engineer
Oracle
Jackson Porter
Student
Snow College
Brent Porter
Senior Product Owner
Dell Technologies
Barton Poulson
Founder
datalab.cc
English Prevo
Graphic Designer
Teem
Gustavo Rivera
Account Executive
Carta
Denise Rizzo
Associate, Compensation
Ralph Lauren
Brandon Rodman
CEO & Co-founder
Weave
Tetyana Romanyukha
Executive Director
UAngel
Jaswandi Sakpal
Technical Product Owner
O C TANNER
Victoria Shepard
Director, People & Development
Ralph Lauren
Surina Shukri
Strategy
SheNovation Ventures
Brian Smiga
Partner/Co-Founder
Alpha Venture Partners
Brian Spittler
Director of Corporate Communications and PR
Podium
Ron Storn
VP, People
Lyft
Ambassador Sujay
Founder & CIO Chief Inspirational Officer
Pro Voice Movement for Women
Ryan Taylor
Founder / Owner
LGBT Financial
Alex Thayn
Student
Snow College
Beverly Troxtell
Managing Director, HRIS
Charles Schwab
Christina Trujillo
Marketing Manager
CenturyLink
Glen Turnbow
Software developer
NA
Preston Unck
Enterprise Account Executive
Teem
Keilee Vaughn
TA Manager
Vivint Smart Home
Victoria Vincent
Analyst
Overstock
Brian Voigt
Director a Career Services , Accounting
BYU
Emily Vuitton
Content Manager
Teem
Derek Westra
Director of Communications
LDS Church
Rhett Wilkinson
writer
Rhett Wilkinson
Jay Williams
Partner & Founder
Contravent
Shellie Williams
CEO
Artemis Staffing
Laura Williams
Executive Assistant
Teem
Joe Wilson
Head of Product
Cake Technology
Kami Wilson
Full-stack Web Developer
OC Tanner
Patsy Wood
QA Engineer
Domo Inc.
Ransom Wydner
Customer Success Manager
Teem
Aaron Wyman
VP IT
Zions Bancorporation
Kimberly Zeiser
Senior Associate
Gensler